Monday, May 25, 2015

The Evolution/Anatomy of a Vampire Book Cover

The Four Stages of Evolution of our Vampire covers

The Evolution/Anatomy of a Vampire Book Cover  

Have you ever walked past a shop window, and something caught your eye so amazing that you just stop in an instant? You know, the kind of instant that your head stops, suddenly snaps sideways towards the window, but your feet keep moving for another step, and you have to reel them under you before you fall?
That, my dear friend is what a writer looks for in a cover. And let me tell you, it’s not an easy process to perfect. As struggling penniless writers, we don't have the cash for editors, proof readers AND cover designers... something has to go, and in the push for the perfect interior product, most of us Indie writers do our own covers.
Here’s the history of our vampire covers since 2013…

The "Screaming Red" cover set.

Vampire High School "Screaming Red".

With the idea and series definitively called “Vampire High School” we screamed through the first two books in about eight weeks… at breakneck speed. Since neither of us had any money to spend on someone else’s covers, I set to the task. First we had the “Screaming Red” cover set. I did all the artwork, and I thought at the time they were pretty cool, but even now, just two years later, they’re definitely jaded. Volume one had the front of the 'actual' Vampire High School (complete with ‘go hawks’ logo) and a screaming Mandy Cross. Volume two had the row of books referring to the Helsing Diaries title. Again I thought I was being clever, but now looking back, more like presumptuous maybe. The third volume had guys in HazMat costumes, the Rage Wars… blah.
When the covers are reduced to thumbnails on Amazon or on your tablet device, you’d never see that detail anyways! Oh how we live and learn.

The Newer, Whiter Version of the "Bloodspill" Cover Set

All Change at the Vampire Office.

Then we wrote more books, decided that the sexual antics the 'kids' were getting up to were a bit more than high school territory. The 'kids' were all in college and emotions and libidos were running high. We also started a new book, intended to be a trilogy, a darker tale called Vampires Don’t Cry, and decided to put all the books under the same banner. Then April decided that she’d use her real name and a whole new concept was developed. I call it the ‘bloodspill’ series. Well, now the covers now had a definite ‘theme’ to them, but for some reason sales dropped, perhaps people being confused with the new Vampires Don’t Cry banner, April’s name change, the new covers, whatever. We persevered for a year, but the sales never picked up to previous levels. I changed them again, 'whitening' them up a bit, but to no avail.
Then April found herself a man, and stopped writing. Agh! I hear you cry. I did too, but I didn't hang my head for long. We'd written the first few chapters of 2 new books and something had to be done, I couldn't leave them hanging indefinitely. So I set to work myself. I’d edited enough of April’s Mandy to pick up the slack, and I did, finishing 3 more books on my own. As far as I know, no-one’s ever noticed.

The Brand new, still "wet paint" cover set

The Ezmeralda Von Katz Miracle

In the renfest world in which we sell our jewelry, we meet some fantastic people. One of these is Ezmeralda Von Katz. She has so many characters/costumes, and she never looks the same way twice. She posted some stuff on facebook, and both she and Steve Gray Photography said we could use the images for books…. she's amazing. The old-fashioned Vampires Don’t Cry books got a whole new cover set, but at first she never had anything we could use for the modern present-day stuff, (the original Vampire High School series) so we persevered some more.
Sales were still low, but I had no recourse, Then we got our latest set of pics… brilliant for teenage cheer-leading rebel Mandy Cross. I even thought of being clever and putting castles and blood and teeth behind her, then just said… “No, Ian, just keep it simple”.
Tell us what you think. Have we got a cover set to be proud of?
Ezmeralda Von Katz in all her glory
Follow Ezmeralda here...

Get Vampire High School here.

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